Accommodation and food
St Catharine's offers accommodation in college for all three or four years of the normal undergraduate course.
First and third years live on the main site. All second years live a few minutes away in St Chad's flats on Grange Road - unlike at many other colleges, where they are dispersed into isolated small groups. Where relevant, fourth years can also usually be housed in college accommodation. Final-year linguists are counted as 'third years' for accommodation purposes. Rooms in the second and third year are allocated by ballot, and students (including first years) worried about their finances can request a smaller, cheaper room. To get an idea of rents and costs, see the page on student finances. Some guest rooms are available for students’ guests.
We have modern rooms and ancient rooms, small (cheaper) and large (less cheap) rooms, ensuite and non-ensuite but no 'typical' room. The college's buildings have been constructed and modified over the centuries so that few rooms are the same. However, all rooms are of a good standard, and year groups are never split between sites, so you will always be accommodated close to others in your year. Room rents depend on room size, location and facilities – most are centrally heated but a few have electric heaters. For undergraduates, the rent for each term covers seventy nights in college, but they may stay here to work in the vacations. All rooms are furnished, but no bed linen, towels, crockery or cutlery are provided.
In the academic year 2018-19, room rents are between £1085 and £1657 per term, which includes the costs of heating, lighting, internet access and provision of the College's self-catering and communal dining facilities. Small increments are expected in future years.
Room keys are issued by the Porters and are returned to them at the end of term. Students must never leave their rooms unlocked. The College does not accept liability for loss or damage to private property in College rooms, so students are strongly encouraged to take out insurance for their belongings, either as an extension of their parents’ household policy or from a company specialising in insurance for students.
Cambridge was not built for cars. Students may ask their tutor if they believe they have an exceptional reason to keep a car in Cambridge, but the rare issuing of a permit does not mean they will find anywhere to park it! Fortunately, Cambridge is so compact that many students find that they can cope without even owning a bicycle.
Breakfast, lunch and an evening meal are available in the self-service cafeteria in the College Hall and bar. Guests may also be invited to these meals for a small surcharge. Formal hall (gown needed!) is also available several nights each week.
Rooms on the main college site have access to a small shared kitchen with fridge, sink and microwave. Off-site accommodation such as St Chad's contains fully-equipped kitchens to enable students to cater for themselves if they wish.
Rules about undergraduate residence
Undergraduates must live in Cambridge for nine terms to obtain a degree. The academic year begins around 1 October and is divided into three terms, each about ten weeks long: Michaelmas, Lent and Easter. Within each term there is a period of about eight weeks called 'Full Term', during which all formal university and college teaching takes place. Undergraduates usually arrive in (come 'up') Cambridge on the weekend before Full Term starts, and leave (go 'down') during the week after Full Term finishes.
The general timing of Full Term is:
Michaelmas Term: early October to early December
Lent Term: mid-January to mid-March
Easter Term: mid-April to mid-June
The precise dates for the next few years can be found on the University website.